Hem and Her is brought to you by Santana Hem. Santana was born and raised in Springfield, VA. The son of Cambodian immigrants, he grew up loving all things food. Jacques Pepin and Julia Child ruled the television over Bert and Ernie. A chubby kid at heart, Santana will be the first to tell you how he spent his Saturday mornings by rolling, and likely stealing tastes of, pork buns, dumplings, and spring rolls with his mother, Vichheka. He watched her with bright eyes and a bottomless stomach. The inspiration behind the “Her” in Hem and Her, Vichheka is as resourceful and creative as they come and is the inspiration behind the project. A refugee of the Khmer Rouge, she will undoubtedly shock you with her ability to cook a delicious meal with whatever she can find - with some hospitality to boot! In a culture where mother and child often do not share the same native language, food is how Cambodians show love.While Vichheka always loved having Santana in the kitchen, she wanted more for her son. At his parents’ urging, he became the first person in his family to attend college. He studied finance at Virginia Tech and landed a corporate gig right out of school. That chubby little Asian kid was now a college grad with a steady income, and his parents were ecstatic.However, Santana was not cut out for the corporate world. After a year of working, saving, and cooking for free on the weekends, he quit his job and moved to New York City to work as a line cook for David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar. After a stint there, he moved on to serve and cook at Danny Meyer's Italian restaurant, Marta, and Tom Colicchio's flagship restaurant, Craft. At those locations he gained vast knowledge not only in European and Modern American cuisine, but also in wine and fine-dining service.
We are making Khmer food the way we enjoy it. Is it traditional? Sometimes. Is it delicious? All the time.What is Khmer food? It is the cuisine of the Cambodian people. Cambodia is located next to Vietnam and Thailand, so there are some similarities to those countries' cuisines. Though Khmer cuisine holds its own uniqueness, which you will learn about through Hem and Her.The goal of this supper club is to bring people together and spread the love of Khmer food in Richmond, VA. Hopefully we see you at an event soon!